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Looks Fierce but is really nice Looks Fierce but is really nice

c. 1847-52 (Koka 4-Kaei 5)/Color woodblock print on paper

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SUMMARY

A kind of caricature called yose-e (“piled-up pictures”), this unique and elaborate piece combines various figures to create everything from the person’s eyes, nose and mouth to the eyebrows and even his topknot (probably his body beneath the kimono as well!). The Western painter Arcimboldo used fruits and vegetables to express the human body in the same fashion, but the relationship between the two is unclear. A connection to Kamakura period military commander Asahina Yoshihide is also rumored due to the pattern on the kimono.

ARTIST

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Utagawa Kuniyoshi1797-1861

Attracted the attention of Utagawa Toyokuni I with his drawing of Zhong Kui (Shoki) at age twelve, and soon became a disciple of Toyokuni’s. He fell on hard times in his 20s, but at 31 published One hundred and eight heroes of the popular Suikoden. This gained him popularity, and he came to be called “Warrior Print Kuniyoshi”. He did everything well, from actors and beautiful women to landscapes, but in particular, his triptych panoramas of warriors or historical scenes as well as his witty caricatures snatched the hearts of the general public. He gathered many excellent pupils with his natural leadership, including Ochiai Yoshiiku, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, and Kawanabe Kyosai.

List of artworks by the same artist

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